Lombard cuisine

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The regional cuisine of Lombardy is heavily based upon ingredients like maize, rice, beef, pork, butter, and lard.[1] Despite being a form of Italian cuisine, Lombard food tends to have little in common with Central or Southern Italian dishes, in many cases lacking the presence of tomato and olive oil, being more meat-based and buttery.[2] In many aspects, Lombard cuisine has much in common with that of Austria and central Europe in general.

Similarly to Italian cuisine, Lombard cuisine is full of variety and every city and part of the region offers its own specialities. A characteristic Lombard dish is risotto, most famously risotto alla milanese (which contains saffron), with rice-based food being highly common throughout the region. Similarly to risotto, maize-based dishes such as polenta are also common parts of the regional cuisine. Famous Lombard dishes include cotoletta, cassoeula and ossobuco. The region also offers several delicacies and desserts, amongst which noted ones such as mostarda and panettone. Regional cheeses include Robiola, Crescenza, Taleggio, Gorgonzola and Grana Padano (the plains of central and southern Lombardy allow intensive cattle-raising). The various Lombard provinces have their own specialties.

Cities[edit]

Milan[edit]

The capital of Lombardy is also home to many culinary specialties. One of the best known is risotto alla milanese, flavoured with saffron and typically served with many typical Milanese main courses, such as ossobuco alla milanese (cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth) and cotoletta alla milanese (a fried cutlet similar to Wiener schnitzel, but cooked "bone-in"). Other milanese specialities include cassoeula (a typical winter dish prepared with cabbage and pork) and the famous panettone Christmas cake (sweet bread with candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins, which are added dry and not soaked).

Ossobuco
Veal shank
A pot of cassoeula.

Bergamo[edit]

The cuisine of Bergamo is characterized by dishes rich in animal fats, in which butter and lard are used. Typical dishes are: "polenta e uccelli" (polenta with songbirds), "casoncelli" (stuffed pasta), "polenta taragna", "cuore di vitello alla bergamasca" (veal heart cooked Bergamo style).

Brescia[edit]

Typical dishes of Brescia include: "riso alla pitocca", "brofadei", "gnocarei e mariconde" (a soup), casoncelli, "polenta pasticciata", "polenta e uccelli", "frittata di rane", "anguilla ai ferri", "oca ai ferri", "spiedo alla bresciana" and "verzata".

Como[edit]

The cuisine in Como is heavily influenced by its lake. Typical are dishes of fish, like the "missultin", agoni salted and sun-dried, or whitefish and pikefish. There is even a special polenta, called "toch", made with equal parts of corn flour, butter and cheese, a very difficult and rich (in every sense) dish. Some villages and valleys around the lake, such as Oliveto Lario, are one of the few parts of northern Italy where olive trees were historically grown, called for this "zoca de l'oil" (valley of the oil).

Cremona[edit]

Cremona's Mostarda (rich condiment made with candied fruit and a mustard flavoured syrup) is known thruought Italy and so is the Torrone which is a typical dessert from this province.

Mantua[edit]

Mantuan cuisine is noted for dishes of medieval origin and for sweet and sour flavors. Tortelli di zucca (ravioli with pumpkin filling) accompanied by melted butter and followed by turkey stuffed with chicken or other stewed meats [3] are one of the best known dishes from this area.

Pavia[edit]

Pavia province is divided in a hilly area, the Oltrepo Pavese, which is one of the main winemaking areas of Lombardy, and a plains area to the north, Lomellina, where rice is grown. Not surprisingly, local specialties are rice dishes, such as Risotto alla Certosina and "Ris e Ran" (a risotto with frog meat) from Pavia and Risotto coi Peperoni and "Ris in cagnon" (rice with ragu' meat sauce) from the town of Voghera. Voghera produces a kind of ravioli containing a beef filling which are known as "Agnolotti di stufato di Voghera" and are typically served "asciutti" (dry and not in a soup form)and dressed with a meat sauce (ragu'). Zuppa alla Pavese was supposedly invented on the spot to feed the captive king Francis I of France after his defeat at the Battle of Pavia on February 24, 1525. Torta del Paradiso is a cake from Pavia, which is also noted for the Colomba Pasquale a cake in the shape of a dove which is traditionally eaten at Easter. Voghera is noted for the "Zuppa di Voghera" a torte with coffee and cream and the "Stracchino di Voghera" a variety of gelato. In the Oltrepo Pavese a variety of hard doughnuts called "Brasadei" is extremely popular for breakfast, and a very simple pancake, known as "Schita" is eaten by children as a snack. The village of Varzi in the Oltrepo Pavese is renowned for its Salame.

Sondrio[edit]

Valtellina's specialties are Bresaola (air-dried salted beef) and Pizzoccheri (a flat ribbon pasta, made with 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour cooked along with greens, cubed potatoes and layered with pieces of Valtellina Casera cheese).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alessandro Molinari Pradelli, La Cucina Lombarda in 630 ricette tradizionali, Newton & Compton Editori, ISBN 88-8289-899-7
  2. ^ Lombardy & the Italian Lakes, 6th, Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls, [1] New Holland Publishers, 2006, p.35
  3. ^ Piras, 87.